Brown, Portman, Grassley Introduce Bill to Increase Health Care Access for Children

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), introduced the bipartisan Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act to help families access life-saving care for children with complex medical conditions. The legislation aims to facilitate access to care reducing regulatory burdens on providers. Joining the introduction of the bipartisan legislation as original co-sponsors are Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Patty Murray (D-WA).

 “This bill puts the patient first. By getting rid of existing red tape that makes it harder for doctors and other providers to treat children who rely on the Medicaid program in another state, we can help to both streamline care for patients and mitigate administrative backlogs at hospitals,” said Brown. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation to optimize care and ensure Ohio’s children’s hospitals have the tools they need to best serve their patients,” Brown said.

“The last thing that families should have to worry about when seeking care for their kids is whether red tape will prohibit or deter an out of state provider from taking their Medicaid coverage, just because they’ve chosen to seek the best possible care a provider that isn’t in their home state. In Ohio, we’re blessed to have world class children’s hospitals that care for kids from across the country but are oftentimes slowed down by these regulatory hurdles. We must do more to support families and kids, and I’m proud to be introducing this bipartisan legislation to streamline these processes and to correct these mistakes,” Portman said.

“Cincinnati Children’s thanks Senators Brown and Portman for supporting the Accelerating Kids Access Act which will allow children to cross state lines more easily to get the medical care they need.  This bill is important to families because it eliminates duplicative state administrative burdens in medicine and allows doctors to focus on clinical care delivering their expertise.  A state border should never be a reason for any child not to get the best possible care available,” said Michael Fisher, President and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Children with complex medical needs cannot always receive the highly specialized care they need within their home state. When that happens, parents must work with health care providers and state Medicaid officials to find out-of-state providers capable of providing necessary medical care. The process is difficult and full of challenging hurdles, which can delay children and their families from receiving the care they desperately need.

The Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act would provide states with the ability to use a streamlined screening and enrollment process for out-of-state pediatric care providers that need to enroll in another state’s Medicaid program, helping to speed up access to care for kids and families and reduce paperwork requirements for providers.

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